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io6                 HISTORY OK PERSIA                 CHAP.
The Downfall of the Nizam-ul-MttlL.....The power and
influence of the Great Vizier seemed to remain unimpaired,
and when an old man he wrote his celebrated tihls<it Nama,
or " Treatise on the Art of Government," which won high
praise from his royal master* But nevertheless he
fell, and Malik Shah, who resembled Haroun-al-Rashid
in his good fortune, has also come down to us with a
tarnished name for his dismissal of the Great Vi/ier, even
although there was no such tragedy as accompanied the
downfall of the Barmecides*
It appears that complaint was made against a grand-
son of the Nizam-ul-Mulk, and the aged ViyJer, who had
doubtless grown  overbearing with  years,  returned  an
angry reply to his master's reproaches*     The incident
might have passed unnoticed but for the fact that Turkan
Khatun,1 the favourite wife of Malik Shah, was hostile to
the Vizier, and consequently he was dismissed*    He was
not put to death or imprisoned, but shortly after his
downfall was assassinated by ajfts/rf/, or devotee, who was
believed to have been sent by the famous Hasan Sabbah.
There is an old legend to the effect that the Ni/ain~ul-
Mulk was at school at Nishapur with Omar Khayyam and
Hasan Sabbah, and the three boys swore eternal friend-
ship, agreeing that whichever of them succeeded in life
should help the other two.   The Nizam-uI-Mulk fulfilled
his obligation in the case of Omar Khayyam, who refused
the governorship of Nishapur but asked for a pension,
which was granted*   He also found a suitable post for
Hasan Sabbah, but the latter intrigued to supplant his
benefactor, and on the failure of his designs became the
Nizam~ul-Mulk's enemy.    This legend is too well known
to be passed by, but disparities of age make its truth
As in the case of the Barmecides, profound sympathy
was felt for the fallen minister, and it was deepened by
his tragic end. The exquisite lines of which the following
is a translation are among the elegies in which his fate
is commemorated:
* Le. "Th« Turkish lady," a title, not a name.